Bay Area Track Club XC Race Report

A new post, finally! On Sunday, Jacqui and I ran the Bay Area Track Club 6k cross-country race. I’d give the race a B-, certainly not a focus race for me, but it could have been worse. I finished the 6k course in 26:04 (6:59 pace) and was REALLY happy when it was over. The sooner you’re done, the sooner the fun!

Race Cons:

  • I spent the fall marathon training and just returned to indoor track workouts, so I’m not exactly in 6k shape.
  • I haven’t done a cross-country race since college i.e. since 2006.
  • The cross-country flights and walking/sightseeing that I took part in leading up to the race did not exactly leave me with fresh legs.
  • Cross-country is HARD (hills! mud! tree roots!) and this race really reminded me of that.
  • The field was very concentrated with fast runners (think: Molly Huddle who holds the American 5k record) and I probably outweighed these girls by a good 20lbs (seriously).


  • The BATC seems like a great organization and everyone we met was super friendly.
  • I got to run a race with super-star elite runners like Molly Huddle, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, and Shannon Rowbury was on the sidelines!
  • Doing a race on vacation gave structure to the trip and it was a great way to interact with the local community.
  • The weather was perfect for racing! Cool, foggy, and in the mid-50’s.
  • Beer tastes better when you run hard to earn it.

One of the things that I love best about running is that it’s very much a sport based on numbers. My satisfaction from a workout or race is largely based on my times and running faster than my own PR is what motivates me to keep racing. Unfortunately, with cross-country, “time” doesn’t matter quite as much as in road racing. Mud, hills, rocks, and roots make for slower times than road races and a since xc races are usually less popular than road races, there’s less people to keep you company. I suppose the things that I don’t like about cross-country are some of the things that many people DO like, but to each his own. My heart remains with road racing!

CPTC teammates, West Coast style.

The fasties.

I love this photo!

Big thanks to blog reader Anders who yelled “Go Runner’s Kitchen” around the 4k mark. It was a nice surprise!

After I finished the race and cooled down, I had one thing on my mind – a hot beverage! I sort of wish it was acceptable to drink beer hot. A caramel machiato and some cashews from Starbucks had to do instead –

Lunch was a giant beet and goat cheese salad from The Grove.

I followed up this healthy lunch with a decidedly less healthy afternoon snack – beer and cupcakes!! It’s all about balance, right?

Mileage for the day totaled about 10.5 including ~2.75 mile warm-up, ~3.75 mile race, 1.5 mile cool-down, 2.5 mile afternoon “shake out” run. The shake out run wasn’t planned, but I had to run an errand and getting my legs moving again actually felt sort of good.

Thoughts on cross-country races? Am I the only one who sort of hates them?

  • AR

    Cross country trip to awesome city = FUN RACING TIME. To that end: no mention of this?: (O HAI, CRAZY.)

    I haven’t been able to bring myself to run a cross country race in YEARS, but I used to love it because I could generally handle mud and hills better than a lot of others. (I should dig up the article where my high school coach called me a “mudder.” Like a horse. That’s a great thing to call an insecure 15 year old, right?) But now? Eh…eek. Yeah. I’ll stick to roads too.

  • Jacqui

    UM yea that pregnant woman – clara peterson – BEAT US. ridiculous. Anyways you know I obviously love xc, but now you know that I also love smiling while racing it. ridiculous, once again.

  • i’ve never done one so i can’t really say anything. i don’t think i’d like them from a racing perspective — i hate it when things slow me down — but i think that it’d be wayyyy fun to get all muddy

  • Your trip to San Francisco looked like so much fun! My sister goes to college out there so my family visits once or twice a year and the city is SO much fun.

    Last May, I visited and did Bay to Breakers and had a blast! The race ended in Golden Gate Park. I agree that the pre-race sightseeing, eating, and walking didn’t help my run…but it was still nice racing in a different city. But San Fran is HILLY! I’m thinking of doing another race out there this year again, folded into a vacation of course.

  • I haven’t raced XC since middle school, but they are so much fun! I wouldn’t worry about my time either – it’s an experience. Your pictures look like it was fun! Do you think you’ll start doing these types of races more often? It’s really awesome that you kept up a sub-7 pace with all the mud, roots, and other obstacles, especially when you haven’t been training for it!

  • Kristan

    Congrats on a great race!! You ladies look like you had so much fun in San Fran!

    During every single XC race I ran this fall, all I could think about was how much I hated running cross country. However I loved the team aspect of it, so I guess that carried me through.

  • That is so funny. Last night, I really wanted a beer, but I was too cold to drink it. I was thinking (to my hubs) that we should make a beer taste good warm. I wish!

  • I might want to do one here eventually. But I actually did my 2010 NYRR volunteer req at a cross country race in Van Cortland Park in the pouring rain and it looked like it sucked, to be honest– brought back memories of my high school XC career in rainy Oregon! If I have a close-to-perfect guarantee of clear weather, I think I’d be up for one. 🙂

  • I haven’t run a cross country race since high school and that was a loooooong time ago (I was much faster then…sigh)! Anyway, I think I’ve probably been “spoiled” by road racing now. I think it’s great that you gave it a try to see if you liked it. How awesome that someone yelled out “go, runners kitchen” to you!!!

  • What a way to cap off a great trip! Great race, too!

    I haven’t run any XC since college. I’m not sure if I’d love it or hate it at this point in my life. On one hand, FUN. On the other, if I’m gonna go balls out in a race, it’d be nice to have a distance-comparable time attached to it. It’s a draw!

  • Anders

    It was nice to meet you after the race! You definitely picked it up when we yelled “Go Runner’s Kitchen!” Congrats on the race and sounds like you had a great visit to SF. Running a race while traveling is definitely a fav part of a vacation for me!

    As far as cross country, I think part of its allure is the lack of numbers. It’s you vs. a unique course as much as against other competitors. The muddier the better. Although the mud makes me also appreciate a nice paved, certified road race!

  • Awesome job!

    I’d love to do an XC race again one of these days… or a trail race. I’m such a cautious runner about roots, sharp declines, etc., that it would definitely push me out of my comfort zone. I get what you mean about being leery of them due to course variations and not having a comparable time… that would probably be my hang up about ’em, too.

  • My first 5K was a XC community race in Elysian Park in LA (near Dodger Stadium). It was half high school XC kids training on summer break and half community members. There was a fallen tree on part of the course and definitely hills. It was much tougher than I expected.

  • I never ran a XC race but it looks tough! Congrats!

    And I have to agree with you about beer tasting better when you run hard to earn it. I think that’s why I enjoy it so much more after long runs!

  • I’ve never done cross country, but I’m pretty positive I’d like road racing better! I’m not a nature-y, scenic kind of person, so to me, the atmosphere wouldn’t be worth the crazy inclines, ha!

  • My first ever race was an XC race (in high school) and I loved exploring nature while racing. I had so many great adventures with my teammates training — sometimes we even got lost and our runs ended up being much longer than we had planned! One of my friends even got lost on a race once (he took a wrong turn) but still came in fourth, ha!

    I find that road racing really hurts my knees, so I tend to stick to XC.

  • congrats on the race and hooray for a fun trip! I’ve never run xc – it kind of scares me, as I would be the one to trip over a rock, roll my ankle, tear some tendons, and then lose a few teeth once I fell completely on my face. SO for now, I’ll stick to the roads 🙂

  • I’m a total street runner. Maybe this makes me a brat, but cross country just isn’t my thing. I’m with ya.

  • I love cross country, but I respect your right to kind of hate it. 😉

  • I have a love-hate relationship, but I really do like being out in parks. In college we ran on golf courses, which was kind of deviant and enjoyable.

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  • Jessa

    xc rocks my world. Road running stresses me out and I get bored too fast.
    Hills and mud and trees and things to jump over keep it real 🙂

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